agebuzz weekly

May 10th, 2018

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

Heads Up: New Research About Migraines And Treatments: Virtually everyone has had a bad headache at some point: the pounding and pressure in your head that can leave you in pain and wondering what you did to bring it on. If you're lucky, the pain is limited and you move on. Sometimes the foods we eat or the medications we take can be the cause of a headache. In older people, headaches can also be a sign that something more serious is going on, and the challenge is to determine quickly and accurately when a headache is a secondary symptom of some other condition that needs medical attention. For an overview of headaches in seniors, and what may cause them, read Here.

For those of you who experience migraine headaches, however, the onset and endurance can be a multi-hour, disabling event. It's estimated that 1 in 5 people in the developed world experience migraines, and it's been known for a while that migraines tend to run in families. Research just published in the journal Neuron describes new scientific understanding of the genetic basis for these painful headaches and may lead to the development of new treatment options. You can read more about this research from a recent post in STAT Plus Here(paywall). You should also take a look at a new migraine treatment approachthat is expected to be approved by the FDA in the coming months. Though this new therapeutic approach, involving a monthly injection, will be costly and lacks long-term safety data, for people who have struck out on current treatment options, it may represent a new possibility for relief.

Spring Fling: Time To Get Out Into Your Garden: For many of us, the arrival of nice weather means it's time to get out the gloves and shears and head to the garden. The demands of your garden can mean a good physical workout and can bring immense pleasure- but it can also be a challenge if bending is painful due to back problems or your knees are uncooperative when kneeling down or getting up. It can be surprising how physically taxing gardening can be, and for older people, there can also be hazards- uneven ground that can lead to falls, cuts and bruises, insect bites, and even difficulty using the typical gardening tools. To read about some of the pleasures and challenges that older gardeners can face- and overcome- readHere and Here. And if you're wondering how you're going to manage this year- maybe your hands have become arthritic or you're not quite as strong as you used to be to drag the hose around the garden- you probably won't be surprised to learn that there's an entire market of products and tools designed to make gardening easier for older people. So take out your rake, and readHere and Here.

What's Next: Thinking Through The Next Phase Of Your Life: If you're like most of us, by the time you reach "the second half" of your life, you may be thinking about- or re-thinking about- how you want the years ahead to unfold. For some of us, it's a second- or even third or fourth- career. For others, it's determining what we can do to make life more meaningful or purposeful. A recent piece in Axios discusses the challenges we'll face as a society when many will live to be over 100 years old: we'll need to acquire skills and education to prepare for what will likely be many professions over the course of multiple decades. As Professor David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School stated, "The arc of our lives must be re-examined."

To help you think through these sorts of challenges, there's a new resource:Next For Me is a website that plans to connect and inspire you through itsnewsletter, blog posts, and in-person salon meet-ups, so that you can be a part of these personal and community conversations about how to shape and mold the post-50 life. And if you're looking for an inspirational story you may want to read about Ohio resident Rosemarie Krizmanich who, after careers in journalism, health care, and gardening, decided at the age of 61 to learn to code and now has a career in IT systems analysis. Whether for financial reasons or personal growth, many of us are going to need to have these conversations in the coming years- better to embrace them than to avoid them.

Walk The Walk: Why Your Legs Hurt And What You Can Do For Relief: We all know that exercise is essential to staying healthy as we age, and that walking is among the best activities to take up- the price is right, the equipment is minimal and you can do it no matter where you are. However, for many of us, either arthritic knees or some other sort of leg pain can limit the amount of walking we do- and that's not good if you want to stay healthy and independent. There are, in fact, several conditions that can cause leg pain besides arthritis, many of which may originate from other parts of your body or are tied to conditions that may signal underlying health problems. Whether it'sPeripheral Artery Disease, which can cause leg pain because your muscles are starved of oxygen, or Chronic Venous Insufficiency, which causes leg pain due to poor circulation through the veins in your legs that lead back to the heart and lungs, it's important to get correctly diagnosed, because there are treatments that can lessen your pain. For example, with venous insufficiency,compression socks can really make a difference. For a good review article on conditions that can cause leg pain, and how you can respond, take a load off your feet and Read Here.

And if you do suffer from arthritic knees, and therefore claim walking is not for you, you need to be aware of some new research out of Northwestern University. Specifically addressing the plight of older golfers with arthritic knees, this small study found that, contrary to what you might expect, golfers with knee arthritis are better off walking the course than riding in the golf cart. The study found that walking was not associated with increased pain or inflammation and provided cardiovascular benefits to the golfers. So grab your driver and read more about this study Here. And for further advice for you older golfers, tee up your ball and Read Here.

Count Me In: Activism In Your Older Years: Listening to the news these days you'd think the only people getting involved in civic and political activism are high school or college students. However, it turns out that older people are also taking to the streets, either for issues that affect them personally or for concerns about the future they are leaving their children and grandchildren. Whether it's Black Lives Matters#MeToo or March For Our Lives, the mix of activists is likely much more multi-generational than you realize. Several publications have recently profiled older activists, some of whom have been marching and protesting throughout their lives, others newly galvanized due to the current state of our politics. So, for example, over at Next Avenue, you can read about retirees who have taken up activism with a passion once they are freed of workplace limitations or responsibilities. Or, read the first person account that recently appeared in The Atlantic by Rachel Gutman about her grandfather who was spurred to protest following the Parkland shootings in Florida. Finally, you need to read the Washington Post op-ed written by Rhoda Isaacs and Judith Hochman, two 80-something women who have taken it upon themselves to make sure all members of Congress have read the recent best-selling book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century. Their new grassroots group, The Present History Project, has the goal of ensuring that our current leaders reflect on our recent history as they grapple with the challenges of the 21st century. If this sounds like something you can get behind, you may want to make a contribution to their Go Fund Me campaign. But whatever you do, don't sit on the sidelines.

What Is Beauty? Photographs of Beautiful Centenarians: Be honest: if asked to describe a beautiful woman, would you conjure up the image of a woman in her later years? Well, photographerArianne Clement wants to challenge you- and wow you- with her recent portraits of women over 100 years old. When she began this photo project, Clement was unsure of her goals. But as she came to know the women and was impressed with the attention they paid to their physical appearance for the portraits, she realized that she was really exploring societal norms of what constitutes beauty and how those norms affect women throughout their lives, even into very old age. Read more about this provocative and compelling photo project Here. And to see more of Clement's wonderful photographs, which primarily focus on older individuals, Click Here.

THE LAST WORD: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." Margaret Atwood